The Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has expressed support for the total ban placed on open grazing by Southern governors, saying it must be implemented latest by September 1.
The group also blasted some Northern leaders for disapproving the ban on open grazing.
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“Afenifere is in full support of the governors to have laws banning open grazing latest by September 1, this year. We notice that some states already have this law enacted.
“We urge the remaining states to enact the law expeditiously.
“Beyond the enactment, however, we call for immediate enforcement of the law so as to put an end to various vices that the act of open grazing is engendering,” the group said in a communique issued at the end of its Executive Council meeting in Lagos.
Daily Trust reports that some Northern leaders had kicked against the Southern leaders’ decision which they said would not resolve the age-long farmers-herders clash.
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State was one of the Northern leaders who believed the open grazing ban would not work.
“The issue of the socio-political and economic dimensions of this crisis is very important; addressing farmers-herders is also very important, to ensure that the enabling environment has been created to the herders is very important.
“This issue of stopping open grazing and others will not work unless we sit down and address all these issues squarely,” Zulum had said last week.
But Afenifere queried the rationale for the Northern leaders’ disapproval of the open grazing ban.
In the communique signed by its Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, after the meeting held at the residence of its leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere noted that open grazing was one of the major causes of desertification.
He said, “Of what intrinsic benefits has open grazing been in the recent past going by various studies that have been done?
“It is on record for instance that open grazing is one of the major causes of desertification that is occurring in the northern part of the country.
“It is also on record that cows reared in a ranch are far more productive, healthier and are less tasking for the rearer compared to the ones being driven from one place to another in search of food and water.
“And certainly those in ranches constitute less risk to neighbouring communities compared to the ones migrating from one place to another.”
Afenifere insisted that the seemingly intractable security challenges in the country are due largely to the restraint put in the way of state governors.
“The governors are described as chief security officers of their respective states, yet they have no security agency that can be deployed to where crimes are being committed with arms.
“A security agency that can arrest, investigate and prosecute. Those of them who came up with some security apparatus like Amotekun are disempowered because they could not bear arms.
“And when they arrest suspected criminals, such suspects must be handed over to the police. As experiences have shown, once this is done, hardly do such cases go beyond the police.
“And the state security body has no control anymore since the Police is a federal agency who does not take orders from the governor. This must change.
“State police, down to the level of local government, must become operational immediately” the communiqué asserts,” Afenifere lamented.
The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the national and state assemblies “and all other concerned authorities to ensure that restructuring take place within the remaining part of this year.
“Its implementation in terms of true federalism in finance, security, social welfare etc. must be begin before the middle of next year.”